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3 Stand Trial in Jordan Over Zarqawi Link

July 25, 2006|From Reuters

AMMAN, Jordan — Three prominent Jordanian Islamist lawmakers went on trial Monday on charges of sowing national discord by visiting the family of slain Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab Zarqawi.

Mohammad Abu Faris, Ali Abu Sukar and Jaafar Hourani all denied charges of stirring up "internal strife and national divisions" by paying their respects to the family of Jordanian-born Zarqawi after his death last month.

They were among hundreds who went to a tent set up by Zarqawi's family in his birthplace to welcome sympathizers.

The three defendants, senior members of the Islamic Action Front, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, were arrested June 12, a day after their visit.

They did not enjoy parliamentary immunity because parliament was in recess.

Abu Faris, alleged to have described Zarqawi as a martyr, told the military court, "I am not guilty and I made no speeches when I offered condolences."

The government said the visit was an affront to most Jordanians, including relatives of 60 people killed in three November hotel bombings in Amman.

Zarqawi claimed to have ordered the bombings.

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